Regional print players rue losing out on political advertising to TV, digital

Print players have admitted that spends have been much below expectations as TV & digital grabbed a major chunk of the ad pie, even as individual advertising didn’t turn up the way they had expected

e4m by Abid Hasan
Updated: May 8, 2014 8:48 AM
Regional print players rue losing out on political advertising to TV, digital

With voting for the 16th Lok Sabha reaching the final phase and the stage set for counting of votes, print players are taking stock of the gains from political advertising. Given the intense interest in these elections, advertisers, too, have pumped in the monies, thus adding to the revenue coffers of the newspapers.

While the national dailies have seen a spurt in revenues from political advertising, regional players have lagged behind.

Commenting on the scenario in the South, Suresh Srinivasan, VP, The Hindu said, “I don’t think there was major advertising in the Southern states as most of the campaigning was in states such as Delhi, UP, Punjab and Bihar. National parties such as the BJP and Congress spent heavily, however, parties in the South, such as DM and AIADMK didn’t spend much.”

He further said, “We have got some share of ‘apolitical’ advertising, but those ads came from a single person or independent personalities. It was a disproportionate share and we got very little from local and hyper local candidates.”

Apart from political parties, brands, too, shied away from associating with certain issues, which affected the business.

Talking about the Kerala market, Varghese Chandy, Senior General Manager, Malayala Manorama said, “Political advertising didn’t pick up well in Kerala. We are very disappointed as spends have been much below our expectations.”

He added, “There are only two main parties in this region. When the Congress was launching Rahul Gandhi, we got a bit of advertising, but post that it went down, Kerala couldn’t make any substantial revenues.”

Meanwhile, the situation is not so different for print players in Bihar and Jharkhand, who were also expecting high revenues but lost out to OOH media and public rallies. The reach of cable TV in these states was also a factor in print losing out on ad revenues.

One of the most prominent players in Bihar and Jharkhand, Prabhat Khabar, didn’t see the hike that they were expecting. “The fair share of revenues went to electronic and digital media this time. Overall, the entire revenue was far below our expectations,” admitted KK Goenka, MD, Prabhat Khabar.

When asked about the reason for this, Goenka replied, “Candidates also didn’t invest this time in print, besides campaigns in print started a bit late in comparison to TV.”

With barely 10 days left for the election process to be over and a new government takes over the reins, it remains to be seen whether print media, and especially regional print media, will be able to make up for the lost revenues.

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